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Shantaram Audiobook

Shantaram

A novel of high adventure, great storytelling and moral purpose, based on an extraordinary true story of eight years in the Bombay underworld. In the early 80s, Gregory David Roberts, an armed robber and heroin addict, escaped from an Australian prison to India, where he lived in a Bombay slum. There, he established a free health clinic and also joined the mafia, working as a money launderer, forger and street soldier. He found time to learn Hindi and Marathi, fall in love, and spend time being worked over in an Indian jail.
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Publisher's Summary

A novel of high adventure, great storytelling and moral purpose, based on an extraordinary true story of eight years in the Bombay underworld.

In the early 80s, Gregory David Roberts, an armed robber and heroin addict, escaped from an Australian prison to India, where he lived in a Bombay slum. There, he established a free health clinic and also joined the mafia, working as a money launderer, forger and street soldier. He found time to learn Hindi and Marathi, fall in love, and spend time being worked over in an Indian jail. Then, in case anyone thought he was slacking, he acted in Bollywood and fought with the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan...

Amazingly, Roberts wrote Shantaram three times after prison guards trashed the first two versions. It's a profound tribute to his willpower...

©2003 Gregory David Roberts (P)2006 Black Stone Audio Inc

What the Critics Say

"Extraordinary vivid...a gigantic, jaw-dropping, grittily authentic saga." (Daily Mail)

"Powerful and original...a remarkable achievement." (Sunday Telegraph)

"Vivid and compassionate...impressive." (Guardian)

"A publishing phenomenon." (Sunday Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (123 )
5 star
 (83)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Overall
4.6 (116 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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Story
4.8 (113 )
5 star
 (95)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Andrew Hemus 02-09-16 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    45
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The sights and smells of India"

    A truly stunning book about India, especially Mumbai or as most locals still call the city, Bombay! It paint a great picture of day to day life, albeit the darker side. Having spent a decent amount of time in Bombay and India, I can say hand on heart that it's a brilliant read and always take me back to the glorious sights and smells of India. Well worth the listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    karen levine 11-25-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Story
    "Classic"

    Everyone should read this story. It will stay with me forever and I can't wait to read the follow-up.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Asbjorn 10-24-15
    Asbjorn 10-24-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    1
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    Story
    "Great story from beginning to end"

    I have read the book and listened twice. This is my favorite!
    Great narrator! I want more of the same

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Valerie Ann Watson 09-11-15
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    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    "Best book I have ever read"

    loved the way Gregory writes. I have physically read the book also. thank you Gregory💋

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kath 08-23-15
    Kath 08-23-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Gripping story beautifully told yet literary weak"
    Would you try another book from Gregory David Roberts and/or Humphrey Bower?

    Most likely not. In my opinion think Roberts literary qualities are too weak and if he didn't have such a fascination story to tell I would not have gone through the ever returning choice of words meaningless descriptions of what people are wearing and the never ending lamentation of supposedly spiritual meaning.


    What did you like best about this story?

    the description of places and people in Bombay was exceptional, fascination and authentic. The way Roberts always seemed to keep something in his sleeve which one could be sure would soon enough be revealed.


    What does Humphrey Bower bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The accents of the natives especially Prabu. The differences and authenticity in the Australian, Indian and New York accents.On the other hand the German and Swiss accents and the female voices he tried to imitate had an irritating ad probably unintentional note of persiflage which made the main female character even more repugnant in the audio than if I would have read the book.


    Do you think Shantaram needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    The author gave all he had in the first half of the book, after that it slipped into trivia and drab description. Especially the descriptions of the woman where weak and unbelievable.


    Any additional comments?

    There is no way I would have read the book past the first half. Having it told to me while working was somehow tolerable but all in all it should have been much shorter.Too much trivia about gangster honor, beautiful woman with sea green eyes long tanned legs and gory descriptions of wounds and war horrors.His female characters remained flat and lifeless stereotypes all of them dumb, naive and corrupted while there was great enthusiastic investment in (so called) brotherly love, honor, gangster and weapon romantic and all that homoerotic denial repertoire.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Morten 08-20-15
    Morten 08-20-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    1
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    Story
    "What a book, what a performance!"

    What a great book! I've never read a book so interesting. The story is extremely exciting and you really learn to love the characters. I love it!

    If you pass this book by, you'll really miss out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gurmeet Pune 08-03-15
    Gurmeet Pune 08-03-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
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    Story
    "Amazing Book ! Amazing Listening Experience !"
    Where does Shantaram rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is my first book and what a great way to start my listening experience. Humphrey Bower makes the listening experience awesome, I just loved his voice and narration.


    Which character – as performed by Humphrey Bower – was your favorite?

    Lin Baba in particular but all of them.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    indrani 06-23-15
    indrani 06-23-15 Member Since 2015
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    1
    1
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    "A very gripping and heart wrenching story. Amazing"

    Loved every bit of the book and dying to read the next book soon. Simply awesome

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ami 04-19-15
    Ami 04-19-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    2
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    Story
    "The read thing"

    Many years ago i too lived in india. Shantaram took me back there. His description of the people is as true as it gets. This is speaking as a goora ( white man).

    One on the best books I have read and Been recommending it to every one i know.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim 04-10-15
    Tim 04-10-15 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    1
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    Story
    "Excellent, a masterpiece"

    A fantastic story, narrated beautifully. The various accents created such authenticity. I loved every minute and enjoyed many a chuckle.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • ANDREW
    GODALMING, United Kingdom
    7/14/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent reading of a great story"
    What made the experience of listening to Shantaram the most enjoyable?

    I'd read the book before and really enjoyed it. I saw it was available on Audible and thought that, if well done, it would be a fantastic audiobook to get completely immersed in. I wasn't disappointed. The book is not without its flaws, but it's a compelling and epic story that I find myself totally hooked by.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Hard to pick a favourite as there are so many compelling characters. I think the audio version of the book really brought out some of the more minor characters, for example Didier.


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    I was impressed by his ability to voice all the characters. There are so many and I thought he did a really good job giving each an individual voice.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    So many - and impossible to say without giving major spoilers!


    Any additional comments?

    A great book, turned into a brilliant audiobook.

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Michaela Mekler
    8/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great for a rookie!"
    If you could sum up Shantaram in three words, what would they be?

    Brave, free, good


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Having spent some time traveling in India I could relate to quite a few of the characters. Prabu is my favourite because he made me feel happy!


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The book gets darker as it goes on so I really enjoyed the naive getting to know India/ Mumbai in the beginning of the book.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    I am unfortunately no copywriter...


    Any additional comments?

    This is a great book for all that love India. Gregory David Roberts has very much grasped how India is a very orderly mess. That's how I always felt about the place.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Wras
    Kildonan
    12/3/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "True lies make excellent stories"

    This is a great story, an old fashion yarn, some of it is true some is writers licence, this is not a negative, if anything it makes the tale more interesting and characters more lovable; because y suspect that unadorned and unromanticized they would be run of the mill thugs or drug addicts. the writer loves to infuse this ruffians with noble ideas and grandiose motives for their dastardly actions, it gives him and his egoism a better defense and a more romantic persona.
    The Bombay underworld and Bombay in the eighties open up to be explored in the pages of this book and this never disappoints giving us many surprises and unimaginable experiences, a little of rural India seeps through and glimps of what was to become the modern Muslim movement beginning to awaken from India to Afghanistan, during the russian occupation, some of those conversations are prophetic but unaware of their place in history.
    The editor was not present enough in some places, this is a large book that could have been tighten up a little with out loosing any of its charm. For me the philosophising from some of the character was not handle properly, and was way too long, but that is a minor complaint when you consider all the good in this book.
    You will not be disappointed, this is a fun and interesting read that lends itself to some investigation in the net, where you will find plenty of controversy on the veracity of some of the writers claims; I found that even the deniers some how proved that a lot the tale is true or based on fact.
    The reader was excellent and made the book come alive.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Sigrin
    Valdisere, France
    10/8/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Inside the Bombay Mafia"

    Firstly hats off to Humphrey Bower what an amazing narrator.
    This book was a rollercoaster adventure of life in India more specifically Bombay and the mafia that controls it. Some of the book I feel was written and remembered in a drug infused haze, but was very philosophical. Mr Roberts descriptions were often over the top, with more adjectives than you could cook dinner with. There were parts of the story that were unbelievable, when he saved someones life with CPR, he had just described the person as blue with rigor mortis!
    Never the less it was still an excellent book. I still feel there are questions to what happened next, and also what of his past life and family in Australia now?

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • HappyLuckyAlix
    UK
    9/3/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoy the Ride!"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    To a friend used to the kinds of beautifully-crafted prose that might be expected in a typical work of literary fiction, and for whom the quality of the writing itself is important I would suggest they think twice before starting this book. As other reviewers have said, it contains a good deal of pompous, purple, cliche-ridden and dubious writing and is the worse for it. However to a friend who loves an adventure novel, a travel book and a ripping yarn, I would heartily recommend. The cast of characters is cliched, many of them horribly stereotyped, thin and poorly drawn, the first-person narrator comes across as a narcissistic twit and I'm astonished these problems with the book were not better addressed at editing stage. By contrast the characters of Bombay, of Pakistan and Afghanistan, of the bars and chai shops and streets and slums are deliciously, sensuously described and are the real stars of this huge great show of a novel. What Gregory David Roberts lacks in creating believable, sympathetic characters he more than makes up for in writing a romping good story, full of exquisite descriptive detail, brilliant highs and desperate, heart rending lows. Humphrey Bower's handling of the many voices, accents and dialects in this novel, and the range of feeling he communicates is a joy to listen to. I was close to giving up on the book after the first few chapters because the writing was annoying me so much. How grateful I am to have persevered; to have stopped judging the book by its faults, and to simply enjoy it for the rollicking good ride that it is.


    Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    I hadn't come across Humphrey Bower before but will now be seeking out more of his work: the reading was first-class.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Sharon McAllister
    2/8/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "thoroughly enjoyed"

    loved this book .... especially given it is meant to be a true story ... though apparently there is controversy about how much was real. none the less a touching funny interesting and enthralling read with believable characters

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    1/31/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Best"

    Simply one of the best books I have listened to. Full of passion, poetry, philosophy and life. All read and performed in an expert way that brings the characters and story to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • fatlad
    1/11/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The most amazing story"

    I was told about this book whilst working in India, recommended by Indian friends.
    Read it and this audio version is great for long journeys.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • TonyM
    UK
    12/30/15
    Overall
    "What sheer brilliance!"

    I can honestly say that this is one of the most impressive books I have come across. The narrator was unflagging in his exceptional delivery. Many congrats to all concerned.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jay Soul
    London, UK
    12/30/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Narrator totally rocking, yaar"

    The only section I didn't like was the war one (around 60% in) but otherwise there is some great stuff in here.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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